‘People will support youngsters, not veterans’
By Ramu Patil | ENS
19th November 2012 09:23 AM
The JD(S) is in poll mode.
With an ambitious target of winning around 150 seats in 224-member state Assembly, party state president HD Kumaraswamy is working hard on strengthening the organisation.
The former chief minister considers next Assembly election as a “question of survival”. He spoke to the Express about poll strategies and current political situation. Excerpts
You seem to have already started the campaign. How has been the response?
I am organising the party by going to people and being with them. I visited most Assembly segments in North Karnataka, some in coastal and central region. Response so far is good. This time voters will not come under influence of caste or money. They will teach a befitting lesson to politicians, who are depending on such factors to win the elections. The Congress and the BJP leaders talk lightly about JD(S), such statements show their concerns over JD(S) popularity, but I take it as a challenge and will work hard to build the party.
People turn up at your functions, but will that convert into votes?
Yes, that did not happen in the last elections when polls were declared as I had not transferred power to the BJP after a 20-month rule and it was projected as a big crime. However, we still won 28 seats and in 39 Assembly segments and lost with a slender margin of 400 to 3,500 votes. Had we corrected our mistakes we could have got an additional 20 seats. Now, people are fed up with the Congress and the BJP and I am confident that good opinion about me will convert into votes.
What is JD(S) strategy for Bangalore that has 28 seats?
Other parties have created an impression in the minds of Bangaloreans that JD(S) is a party limited to rural areas and it has no programmes for cities. So far we have failed to break this myth.
Now, keeping this in mind we hae formulated a strategy that will explain what we have done for the city and what we plan to do.
S M Krishna is back in the state. Will that have any impact on JD(S)?
There is a lot of difference between 1999 (when the Congress won elections) and 2013 elections. People will not vote for leaders who are on the verge of retirement, but they will support those who can provide leadership for the next 15 to 20 years. Krishna got publicity for all our programmes, including developing the IT industry. It was Deve Gowda who started the process in 1995 by inviting the then Singapore prime minister to lay foundation stone for the IT Park. Deve Gowda also introduced flyover and ring roads concept and started metro rail project. As the prime minister he approved Cauvery III and IV stage water supply projects. Unfortunately, after he went to Delhi as prime minister, our own party leaders did not give due credit to him, but made efforts to tarnish his image.
What impact will BS Yeddyurappa’s regional party have on JD(S) poll prospects?
It is too early to comment. Mostly leaders who do not get tickets in other parties may join Yeddyurappa’s party.
Yeddyurappa is busy attacking the BJP government. Will he get anti- BJP and anti- Congress votes?
No one takes Yeddyurappa’s statements seriously. It is just an effort to mislead people. He is now talking about working for the people, but what did he do when he was in power? His family was his only focus. Currently his statements are providing free entertainment for the people, but he will be thoroughly exposed during the elections.
Will you again join hands with BJP?
No question of joining hands with Congress, BJP, BSR or Yeddyurappa. They are all our political opponents and we will fight them in elections. We are trying to convince the people to give us a chance to form a government on our own. The results will surprise many, including political analysts who are talking about a hung Assembly.
Two JD(S) leaders, Putte Gowda and H M Vishvanath are leaving the party, blaming HD Revanna’s style of functioning? They took such a decision thinking that they will not get the party tickets to contest the Assembly election and are unnecessarily blaming Revanna. It will not have any impact on the party.
You once said corruption will not be a major election issue, so what issues will your party highlight?
We have already spoken so much about corruption that people feel nauseated. If we again make that an election issue, what message are we sending? People have an impression that all politicians are corrupt thus they cannot trust any leader. Keeping that in mind, we will go to people with a positive agenda and a promise to bring in a change. My only aim now is to bring JD(S) to power on its own. It is a question of survival (for JD(S)) and I have taken it as a challenge. We have identified 178 candidates and rest will be done within a month.
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